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SAP pushes supply chain solution at COVID-hit market as Sapphire Now bash begins

Analyst: 'They need to blow up the obsolete Ariba engine first'

Sapphire Now As customers, SIs and analysts demand more detail on SAP’s cloud lift-and-shift and transformation package, the German vendor came to the table at its Sapphire annual conference with a mixed spread of announcements.

Seeing the opportunity created by the supply chain disruption created in the wake of COVID-19, SAP decided to lean on its supply chain portfolio Ariba for a bit of market lift. Touting the new development as SAP Business Network, the ERP stalwart said it would create “a single, unified portal to gain a holistic view into their supply chain ecosystem, logistics and traceability, and equipment management and maintenance.”

Speaking during his keynote, CEO Christian Klein said: “We want to connect every company across your entire supply chain and, in doing so, provide immense value from being a member of this community.

“We have multi-tier suppliers, logistic providers, manufacturers and banks who will be able to respond to any disruptions in real-time through their connections in the network. We already run the world's largest supplier network, with more than 5.5 million connected enterprises. And because our applications run supply chains across every industry, we have the most relevant data and expertise,” he said.

Ariba, Ariba: Is this a rebrand?

But one analyst took to Twitter to point out that SAP was effectively relaunching Ariba. Tony Baer, principal with dbInsight, said: "It's a great idea, but they need to blow up the obsolete Ariba engine first.

"The relaunch… needs to be more than a rebranding of Ariba. It needs thorough rethinking and the hope is SAP will take the same type of end-to-end approach that they did with the SAP [Data Warehouse] Cloud service," he said.

The business network is a move to join SAP Ariba to the logistics management systems and other elements of SAP's wider portfolio.

SAP also had news about RISE, the service which promises to lift and shift customers' ERP to the cloud while at the same time supporting some business transformation. SIs and analysts had been hoping for more clarity on exactly how it would work with parallel services, such as application management, which are not part of RISE.

Instead, SAP announced RISE with SAP for industries starting with retail consumer products, automotive, utilities, and industrial machinery and components.

"These new RISE with SAP industry solutions work natively with S/4HANA Cloud so every customer can get the full set of industry specific solutions needed in their cloud deployment," said Julia White, SAP chief marketing and solutions officer.

Meanwhile, Klein said "incredible customer interest" in RISE meant that the vendor would expand the offer beyond S/4Hana Cloud to include HR and procurement capabilities. "We have heard loud and clear that many customers want a holistic modular cloud ERP solution. We are also launching a dedicated package for human experience management. This is all delivered with one data and security model," he said.

On top of these announcements, SAP also touted new products and features in business process intelligence, expense management and Upscale Commerce, a low-code solution for direct-to-consumer e-commerce.

There might be something for everyone, but will anyone really be satisfied? ®

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